Should Boris Johnson go? Banbury councillor calls on Victoria Prentis to go public on whether the PM's head should roll over Partygate
Cllr Matt Hodgson, Labour councillor for Banbury Cross and Neithrop on Cherwell District Council, has twice emailed Mrs Prentis to ask whether she will call for Mr Johnson’s resignation after his fine for breaking lockdown rules to attend parties at Downing Street. He has not received a reply.
Mrs Prentis’ office said: “Victoria will be replying to constituents who have emailed in due course.”
Mr Hodgson’s request came during a period of intense criticism of Mr Johnson for partying while others were observing lockdown – some unable to see loved ones over the Christmas period.
His comments came as Mr Johnson made a ‘full-throated apology’ in the Commons today (Tuesday) after being fined for attending a birthday ‘bash’ for himself at Number 10. It is understood MPs are also going to debate and vote on referral of the matter to the Commons privileges committee over ‘lies’ he had made to Parliament about Partygate.
Mr Hodgson said: “It is evident that the Prime Minister lied to Parliament and to the public when he said no parties took place.
“We have witnessed, since the outbreak of Covid, our country experiencing the seventh highest total of deaths from this pandemic of all nations across the globe - some 170,000 people.
“We have experienced this because the government locked down too late, failed to put in place an effective track-and-trace system (one that was ignored by most and cost billions of pounds, paid to whom?). As a result, we have had some of the longest lockdowns in the world which, most assuredly, have affected our economy.
"But those effects on our economy have only been as a result of the Conservative government not acting quickly enough to minimise the worst economic ravages of the pandemic. Had they acted sooner, we would be in a much better position now,” he said.
“The government didn't lock down soon enough, because they were only concerned about the finances of the country and not concerned about saving the lives of our nearest and dearest from a disease that had an initial mortality rate of ten times that of flu.
“Since then, the Prime Minister has lied to us about there being no parties, about him not attending them, about him not realising one of those parties was to celebrate his birthday (despite there being a cake) and much more.
“We have had the PPE scandals where Tory chums were paid billions of pounds to provide PPE, people who were in charge of companies with absolutely no experience in delivering such equipment while others who were far more experienced and able were ignored.”
Mr Hodgson said lying was a breach of the ministerial code. “And any other minister, let alone a prime minister would have done the decent thing by now, if they had had any shred of honour, and fallen on their sword and resigned,” he said.
“My question to Victoria Prentis is will she also have the backbone to be speaking up and calling for the PM to resign, or ask for a vote of no confidence, given all the evidence against him?”